Commentary - 11/04/2007

Boilerplate News For New World Order
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Posted on Sun, Nov. 04, 2007
Activists detained in ------- emergency
By ------- -------
------- ------- Writer

Police wielding assault rifles rounded up opposition leaders and rights activists Sunday after ------- ------- suspended the constitution, ousted the top justice and deployed troops to fight what he called rising ------- extremism.

------- -------, who seized power in a ---- coup but had promised to hand over his ------- ------- and become a ------- president this year, declared a state of emergency Saturday night, dashing hopes of a smooth transition to democracy for the nuclear-armed nation.

"------- -------'s second coup," read the headline in the ------- daily. "It is martial law," said the ------- -------.

------- ------- ------- ------- said the extraordinary measures would remain in place "as long as it is necessary." He also said ------- elections could be postponed up to a year, but no such decision had been made.

------- also said that up to 500 opposition activists had been arrested in the last 24 hours.

Among those detained were ------- -------, the acting president of the party of former ------- ------- ------- -------; ------- star-turned politician, ------- -------; ------- -------, chairman of the independent Human Rights Commission of -------; and ------- -------, former chief of the main intelligence agency and a staunch critic of -------'s support for the --------led war on terror.

Some 200 armed police stormed the rights commission office in ------- on Sunday and arrested about 50 activists, said ------- -------, a legal officer for the body.

"They dragged us out, including the women," he said from the police station in the eastern city. "It's inhuman, undemocratic and a violation of human rights to enter a room and arrest people gathering peacefully there."

-------'s leadership is threatened by an ------- militant movement that has spread from border regions to the capital, the reemergence of political rival and former ------- ------- ------- ------- and an increasingly defiant Supreme Court, which was expected to rule soon on the validity of his recent presidential election win. Hearings scheduled for next week were postponed, with no new date set.

Attorney General ------- ------- denied claims by ------- and others that ------- had imposed martial law - direct rule by the army - under the guise of a state of emergency. He noted the ------- ------- was still in place and that ------- would complete its term, ending --- ---.

In -------, phone service that was cut Saturday evening appeared to have been restored by Sunday morning. But transmissions by television news networks other than state-controlled ------- TV remained off the air.

Scores of paramilitary troops blocked access to the Supreme Court and -------. Otherwise streets in the capital appeared calm, with only a handful of demonstrations. But one, attended by 40 people at the Marriott Hotel, was broken up by baton-wielding police.

"Shame on You! Go ------- Go!" the protesters shouted as officers dragged some out of the crowd and forced them to the ground. Eight were taken away in a van.

Western allies had urged ------- not to take authoritarian measures despite his country's recent turmoil.

------- Secretary of State ------- ------- called for a return to democracy, as the ------- embassy urged citizens in ------- to remain at home and defer all non-essential travel. But ------- spokesman ------- ------- said the emergency declaration "does not impact our military support" of the ------- nation or its efforts in the war on terror.

In his televised address late Saturday, -------, looking somber and composed, said ------- was at a "dangerous" juncture, and that its government was threatened by ------- extremists who were "imposing their obsolete ideas on moderates."

The military ruler, wearing a black button-down tunic rather than his ------- uniform, also blamed the Supreme Court for tying the hands of the government by postponing the validation of his recent election. The court was expected to rule soon on opponents' claims that -------'s ------- victory was unconstitutional because he contested while ------- -------. He was elected by a --------led legislature.

-------, who had traveled abroad following an ------- suicide bombing that narrowly missed --- but killed 145 others, immediately returned to the southern city of ------- declared Saturday the "blackest day" in -------'s history. "Judicial decisions have to be accepted even if they don't suit you," she said.

------- replaced the chief justice, ------- ------- -------, who had emerged as the main check on the president. ------- -------, a lawyer who represented the judge, also was arrested.

------- vowed to go ahead with ------- elections, originally due by -------, but gave no timeline.

Deputy Information ------- ------- ------- said Sunday he hoped the polls would go ahead soon: "But unfortunately everything has been put on the back burner. I can't give you the exact date."

-------''s emergency order suspended the ---- constitution. Seven of the -- Supreme Court judges immediately rejected the order, and only five agreed to take the oath of office under the new provisional constitution.

The emergency comes as -------'s security forces struggle to contain pro- ------- and al-Qaida-linked militants who have gained control of large tracts of the volatile northwest, near -------.

Violence has reached major cities with deadly suicide attacks in ------- and ------- underscoring the failure of -------'s administration to combat the threat despite huge financial support from the ------- -------.

Analysts, meanwhile, said the imposition of emergency rule may only postpone -------'s political demise.

"He's obviously not very popular, and it's not going to increase his popularity," said ------- -------, a ------- expert at the Washington-based Center for International and Strategic Studies.

------- issued two ordinances toughening media laws, including a ban on live broadcasts of "incidents of violence and conflict." Also, TV operators who "ridicule" the president, armed forces, and other powerful state bodies face up to three years in jail.

NOTE: Today's version of this news story is here. In what country will the next version of this story take place? The United States?

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2007 by Edward Ulysses Cate
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